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moral regret or satisfaction, which have reference to our own past conduct or desires ;-of the former of which, the regret that is selt by us, when we look back on our moral delinquencies, remorse is the common appropriate name; while the latter, the satisfaction with which we review our past actions or wishes, has no strict appropriate name, corresponding with the opposite term remorse; but is sometimes called self-approbation, sometimes included in that familiar phrase of general and happy comprehension, a good conscience. Whatever name we may give to it, however, it is easily understood, as that emotion, which bears to our remembrance of our virtuous actions the relation, which remorse bears to the remembrance of our actions of an opposite character.
I proceed, then, to the consideration of our retrospective emotions, in the order, in which I have now mentioned them.
The first of these is Anger. Anger is that emotion of instant displeasure, which arises from the feeling of injury done, or the discovery of injury intended, or, in many cases, from the discovery of the mere omission of good offices, to which we conceived ourselves entitled, though this very omission may itself be regarded as a species of injury. It is usually, or I may say universally, -certainly, at least, almost universally, followed by another emotion, which constitutes the desire of inflicting evil of some sort in return; but this, though resulting from the feeling of instant displeasure --50 immediately resulting from it, as to admit, in ethics, and in common discourse, of being combined with it in one simple term—is not to be confounded with it, as the same, in any analysis, at least in any minute philosophic analysis, which we may make of our emotion. The evil felt,—the dislike, the desire of retaliation,-however rapidly they may succeed, and however closely and permanently they may continue afterwards to coexist, in one complex state of mind, are still originally distinct. The primary emotion of anger, involves the instant displeasure merely, with the notion of evil done or intended, and is strictly retrospective: the resentment, or revenge, which is only a longer continued resentment, if we were to consider it without any regard to this primary displeasure which gives birth to it, would be referred by us to that other set of our emotions, wbich I have
termed prospective. It is a desire, as much as any other of our desires. But though, in our minute philosophic analysis, this distinction of the two successive states of mind is necessary, it is not necessary, in considering the feeling of resentment in its moral relations; and, in the few remarks which I have to offer on it, I shall, therefore, consider the instant displeasure itself, and the desire of returning evil, as one emotion. To estimate fully the importance of this principle of our constitution, we must consider man, not merely as he exists, in the midst of all the securities of artificial police, but as he has existed in the various stages which have marked his progress in civilization.
The existence of the race of men in society, wherever men are to be found, does not prove, more powerfully, the intention of our Creator, that we should form with each other a social communion, than the mere consideration of the faculties and affections of our mind,-of all which constitutes the strength of our manhood, when each individual has treasured, in his own mind, the acquisitions of many generations preceding--and of all which constituted the weakness of our infancy, when, but for the shelter of the society in which we were born, we could not have existed for a single day.
But, though man is formed for society—born in it, living in it, dying in it,—the excellence of society itself is progressive. Even in its best state of legal refinement, when offences and the punishment of offences, correspond with the nicest proportion which human discernment can be supposed to measure or devise, it is scarcely possible that the united strength of the community should be so exactly adapted to every possibility of injury, as to leave no crime without its corresponding punishment; and as the social system exists at present, and still more as it has existed for ages, the injuries, for which legal redress is, or can be received, bear but a very small proportion in number to the injuries, which might be done, or even which are done, without any means of such adequate reparation. Nature, however, has not formed man for one stage of society only; she has formed him for all its stages,-from the rude and gloomy fellowships of the cave and the forest, to all the tranquillity and refinement of the most splendid city. It was necessary, therefore, that he should be provided with faculties and passions, suitable to the necessities of every stage.--that in periVOL. 11.
ods, when there was no protection from without, that could save him from aggressions, there might be at least some protection within,-some principle, which might give him additional vigour, when assailed, and which, from the certainty of this additional vig. our of resistance, might render attack formidable to the assailant; and thus save at once from guilt, and from the consequences of guilt, the individual who otherwise might have dared to be unjust, and the individual who would have suffered from the unjust inva. sion.
What human wants required, that all foreseeing Power, who is the guardian of our infirmities, has supplied to human weakness. There is a principle in our mind, which is to us like a constant protector,—which may slumber, indeed, but which slumbers only at seasons when its vigilance would be useless, which awakes, therefore, at the first appearance of unjust intention, and which becomes more watchful and more vigorous, in proportion to the violence of the attack which it has to dread. What should we think of the providence of nature, if, when aggression was threatened against the weak and unarmed, at a distance from the aid of others, there were, instantly and uniformly, by the intervention of some wonder-working power, to rush into the hand of the defenceless, a sword or other weapon of defence? And yet this would be but a feeble assistance, if compared with that which we receive from those simple emotions which heaven has caused to rush, as it were, into our mind for repelling every attack. What would be a sword in the trembling hand of the infirm, of the aged, -of him whose pusillanimous spirit shrinks at the very appearance, not of danger merely, but even of the arms, by the use of which danger might be averted, and to whom, consequently, the very sword, which he scarcely knew how to grasp, would be an additional cause of terror, not an instrument of defence and safety ? The instant anger,
which arises, does more than many such weapons. It gives the spirit, which knows how to make a weapon of every thing, or which, of itself, does, without a weapon, what even a thunder-bolt would be powerless to do, in the shuddering grasp of the coward. When anger rises fear is gone ;—there is no coward, for all are brave. Even bodily infirmity seems to yield to it, like the very infirmities of the mind. The old are, for the moment, young again; the weakest, vigorous.
This effect the emotion of anger produces, at the very time of aggression ; and, though no other effect were to arise from it, even this would be most salutary; but this transient effect is trifling, compared with its permanent effects. If this momentary feeling were all, the contest would be a contest of mere degrees of force ; and the weaker, whatever accession of power and courage he might receive from the emotion which animated him, if the addi. tional strength which the anger gave to his arm and to his heart did not raise him to an equality with his unjust assailant, though he might not sink till after a longer struggle, would still sink wholly and hopelessly. It is the long-remaining resentment that outlasts, not the momentary violence of emotion only, but all the evil consequences of the injustice itself, which renders the anger even of the weakest formidable, because it enables them to avail themselves, even at the most distant period, of aid, before which all the strength of the strongest individual must shrink into nothing. There is a community, to the whole force of which the injured may appeal; and there is an emotion in his breast which will never leave him till that appeal be made. Time and space, which otherwise might have afforded impunity to the aggressor, are thus no shelter for his delinquency; because resentment is of every place and of every time ; and the just resentment of a single individual may become the wrath and the vengeance of a pation. He who is attacked on some lonely plain, where no human eye is present with him, but that dreadful eye which looks only to threaten death, no arm but that dreadful arm which is listing the dagger, has eyes and arms, which at the distance, perhaps, of many years, are to be present, as it were, at the very deed of that hour, for his relief, or at least, for his avengement. A crime, perpetrated on the farthest spot of the globe, that is subject to our sway, may have its retribution here, a retribution as dreadful as if all the multitude who assemble to witness it had been present at the very moment, on the very spot, where the crime was committed, or had come, at a single call, for help, with the omnipotence of a thousand arms, to the succour of the injured. It is necessary, therefore, for deterring unjust provocation that man should not feel anger merely, but should be capable of retaining the resentnient till he can borrow that general aid of the community, to which, in the instant of any well planned villany, it would, probably, be in vain to look. The wrath of a single individual, and of the weakest and most defenceless individual, may thus carry with it as much terror as the wrath of the strongest, or even of a whole army of the strong.
Such is anger, as felt by the indvidual aggrieved. But when a crime is very atrocious, the anger is not confined to the individual directly aggrieved. There rises in the mind of others an emotion, not bo vivid, perhaps, but of the same kind, involving the same instant dislike of the injurer, and followed by the same eager desire of punishment for the atrocious offence. In this case, indeed, we seldom think of applying to the emotion the term anger, which is reserved for the emotion of the injured individual. We term it rather indignation ; but though the name be different, and though the accompanying notions of personal or foreign injury be also different, the emotion itself may be considered as similar. It certainly is not the mere feeling of moral disapprobation, but, combined with this moral disapprobation, a vivid dislike, which all who have felt it may remember to have resembled the vivid dislike felt by them in cases in which they have themselves been injured, and a desire of vengeance on the offender as instant, and often as ardent, as when the injury was personal to themselves. The difference, as I before said, is in the accompanying conceptions, not in the mere emotion itself. In periods of revolutionary tumult, when the passions of a mob, and even, in many instances, their most virtuous passions, are the dreadful instruments of which the crafty avail themselves, how powerfully is this influence of indigpation exemplified in the impetuosity of their vengeance ! Indigo nation is then truly anger. The demagogue has only to circulate some tale of oppression ; and each rushes almost instantly to the punishment of a crime, in which, though the injury had actually been committed, he had no personal interest, but which is felt by each as a crime against himself. If it was in our power to trace back our emotions through the whole long period of our life, to our boyhood and our infancy, we should find, probably that our most vivid feelings of early resentment, if I may use that term in such a case, were not so much what is commonly termed anger, as what is more commonly termed indignation. Our deep and